How to Capture Outstanding Motion Photos with Panning

By Admin / March 18, 2009

One very cool technique to capture movement in your photographs is known as panning.

It basically results in an in-focus subject with a streaked background in your photos. Luckily, it isn't as difficult as you might think to capture panning photos like these taken by Baptiste Pons and Sighthound from Flickr:

Shutter Priority Mode

An easy way to do it on most DSLRs is to set your camera to shutter priority mode. Set a slow shutter speed like 1/15th of a second. As the subject of your photo moves start following them in your view finder. As the subject crosses immediately in front of you, take the photo while continuing to follow them with your camera.

And that's the easy way to take a panning photo using shutter priority. It gives you the added advantage of not having to set or mess with aperture which saves time when you're shooting action shots.

A few tips to remember:

  • If your camera's auto-focus is a bit slow, you might need to manually focus on a predetermined position.
  • If possible, shoot subjects that move in a straight trajectory for best results.
  • You need to take into account shutter lag, especially on older cameras

Check out these other panning photography tutorials:

About the author

Admin

I'm Rob, the editor of Light Stalking. I try to keep this ship on course.

  • Ilan says:

    Don’t forget – A steady hand is important as well.

    • Admin says:

      Yup, I should have mentioned to be concious of that, especially at the point where you actuallly take the pic as that can have an effect on the trajectory of the camera. Thanks Ilan.

  • Nice intro into panning. I've written an article on panning at car races if you want more info.

    http://michaelamarks.com/?p=28

    Cheers

  • It's all in the hips. I find that way you maintain a smooth panning action.

  • I'm so happy to be a member here, very informative… thanks!

  • Vivien says:

    Would you use AI SERVO (on a canon) for this or is it only for blurring images?


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